DIY talking tote bag

I’ve mentioned more than a few times that I’m a big, fat Kate Spade fan. I love how all of her pieces manage to be both whimsical and classic. I’m also a big I Spy DIY fan and when Jenni did a post a few months ago on DIY quote totes that were inspired by Kate Spade’s cheeky totes, I knew I’d have to make my own version.

DIY talking tote bag

My version is a little more laid back than Kate Spade and even Jenni’s version of the bag. If you prefer it the other way, all you really need to do is iron on letters instead of painting them on (something I will probably also do in the future because I’m a big ol’ word nerd who can’t get enough of this stuff).

Kate Spade inspired bag: DIY quote tote supplies

OK. So. This is super easy. You’ll need a canvas tote, fabric paint, painters tape (I actually just used some of my husband’s endless supply of gaff tape) and stencils. I didn’t have any stencils that were big enough so I ended up taking these letter sheets I found in the teacher’s section at the dollar store. I popped out the letters and used the empty space as my stencil.

Kate Spade inspired bag: DIY quote tote stenciling

Some pointers I learned along the way:

  • Put a piece of cardboard inside your bag before you start working on your word–unless, of course, you want the letters to bleed through to the back (…like one of mine did).
  • Lay out your letters before you start painting. This way you’ll know if you have enough space and you’ll be sure your phrase is centered.
  • Secure each letter before you paint. This is critical or you’ll end up with seriously messy edges and an end product that looks like your kid made it during arts and crafts.
  • Remove the stencil quickly by pulling straight up as soon as you’re done painting each letter. If you let it sit, it could start to dry and then you have to deal with peeling. If you don’t pull it straight up you can smudge it (refer back to the last sentence of #2 for what that means).

Kate Spade inspired bag: DIY quote tote dipped bottom

To give the bottom a color-dipped effect, lay your tape across it, being careful to seal the edge that will be painted. Next paint away, remembering that it’s always better to err on the side of caution and use less. You can always go back and add more coverage but you can’t remove big, sloppy paint gobs once it starts drying.

Remove the tape the same way you removed the stencil: quickly and by pulling straight up. Then make sure to let it dry somewhere for a few hours. I hung mine up in the shower to keep it away from a nosy toddler.

Kate Spade inspired bag: DIY quote toteI say “word” way too often, mostly because it drives my husband insane. Lately I say “Word up, buttercup” just about every time I agree with him. It amuses me endlessly and is always a guaranteed way to get an eye roll out of him.

I thought it would be fun to use one of my most overused terms on a bag (a bag that I can make sure he has to look at as often as possible) and even more fun to use this particular bag as a tote for the library. I’m kind of a huge nerd, no?

Are there any expressions that you use way too often that would be perfect for a tote of your own?

Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.